My gluten free journey started a long time ago, although I didn’t know it at the time. During the spring of 2012 I moved into a new apartment. The first morning I woke up I had the itchiest bump. I assumed it was a random mosquito bite. The following day I woke up with several more. Someone frightened me with “bed bugs” and I searched high and low and found nothing. Every day more and more bumps appeared until I was a miserable itchy mess. I finally went to the emergency room where I was diagnosed with idiopathic urticaria (hives of unknown origin). For several months I took medicine around the clock to get any relief, gained 20lb, and spent my days covered in itchy welts. Several months later I moved again and they mysteriously disappeared. They reappeared briefly the following spring when I got pregnant the first time. They disappeared during the pregnancy and came back 3 months postpartum, but without the vengeance of the first attack. Again I got pregnant and they went away.
Following my second pregnancy they came back worse than ever. Again I was taking medicine throughout the day, covered in hives from head to toe. I went to another doctor looking for more answers. Many tests came back negative, but an allergy prick test showed an allergy to wheat, eggs, and shellfish. None of which I had been allergic to as a child. I became pregnant again, and the stubborn hives stuck around until the second trimester. As the time drew near to have my third baby, I decided to cut out those allergens to see if any had an effect. On February 16, 2017 I gave birth to a boy, ate a Subway sandwich immediately after, and swore off gluten. Imagine my surprise when the hives never returned.
I found gluten free options for many of my favorite things, found new foods to love, and learned the ins and outs of eating at restaurants. I tested eggs and shellfish and found no reaction. About 6 months later I tried a newly released gluten free pizza. It was contaminated with wheat. I couldn’t believe how sick it made me. I got a few hives on my legs, but I also got major intestinal distress, insomnia, brain fog, and headaches for 3 days. It was then that my husband and I came to the conclusion that gluten was a forever no for me. I have not been tested for Celiac disease, but I behave as if I have it. It’s still sometimes trial and error, especially finding ways to create beloved foods. I miss gooey hot donuts, Oreos dipped in milk, and the simplicity of ordering a regular cheeseburger in public. I pay the price for even a minute amount of cross contamination, and remember vividly what not to do again.
My hope is to share my knowledge and love of food with you as you navigate the journey of living gluten free!